Kwahadi Dancers at YES

Amarillo’s Kwahadis dancers will give a special performance during the 2011 Bank of America Youth Excellence Seminar on June 18.

Amarillo’s Kwahadi dancers will give a special performance during the 2011 Bank of America Youth Excellence Seminar on June 18.

Kwahadi girl performs a traditional dance.

The Kwahadis are the longest performing group in Texas, having been doing so since 1944. It is a program for boys and girls committed to the education of Native American tradition and culture. The Kwahadis have been guided by different Native American tribes, such as the Mohawk, Pueblo, Kiowa, Shoshoni, Sioux, Cherokee and Comanche.

The Kwahadi shows include different types of interpretive performances. For example, the Belt Dance honors the importance of our family and associations and reminds us of our responsibilities to others. Other performances honor soldiers, encourage us to stand up for our beliefs, and to never give up on ourselves and our friends. During these performances, the Kwahadis are dressed in costumes that are both colorful and authentic.

The Kwahadis have been honored with several awards, including the Texas Commission for the Arts Youth Award for Excellence. They have performed at the International Festival of the Arts in Amman, Jordan, the Boy Scout National Jamboree, the Canadian Scout Jambec, and the Millennium Jamboral. Their most important honor was being given the name Kwahadi by the Elders of the Comanche Nation. The Kwahadi was a band of Comanche people who hunted on the High Plains of Texas.

Continue reading “Kwahadi Dancers at YES”

Cow Horse Confidence

An aggressive cow could shake the confidence of a young cow horse.

An aggressive cow could shake the confidence of a young cow horse.


Hello Al,

I have a 3-year-old gelding that I thought was going nice on a cow. I had him working for a couple of weeks. He’d hold a cow in the corner, fence and push a cow that wanted to push him. Then one day I was working some cattle in a pasture, and I came on a real angry little heifer.

In all, she charged him four times, he turned on her twice and let her have both hind legs, but she still wanted to come at him. Then he quit her. I then worked two other cows, and he was a little off them but did his job and penned them.
Continue reading “Cow Horse Confidence”

Becoming a Horseman

Before your horse makes any changes, you’ll have to make some first.

Before your horse makes any changes, you’ll have to make some first.

From AQHA’s Fundamentals of Horsemanship

A true horseman has a willingness to listen and learn.

Whatever our equestrian activities and whatever our aims and motives, we are all searching for the same thing: that elusive harmony between man and horse that comes from a deeper understanding.

Communication is subtle; mutual respect and trust find the perfect balance. The connection between man and horse is not only physical, but mental and emotional. The path to this harmony is not easy, and it requires considerable personal investment, with moments of deep satisfaction (thank goodness) but also others of profound frustration. Rest assured that determination, perseverance and a willingness to listen and learn will always bring success. This is the road to becoming a horseman. Continue reading “Becoming a Horseman”

Three-peat at 2011 Road to the Horse

Chris Cox of Mineral Wells, Texas, is the Road to the Horse champion aboard Perfect Performance.

Chris Cox of Mineral Wells, Texas, is the Road to the Horse champion aboard Perfect Performance.

Chris Cox and Perfect Performance

You know how some horses are just aptly named? Like the super-speedy Jet Deck and First Down Dash, or Acadamosby Award, who has won the horse industry’s version of an Oscar (AQHA Superhorse) three times? Now, enter Perfect Performance.

Fresh off the Four Sixes Ranch in Guthrie, Texas, Perfect Performance was the 3-year-old colt selected from a remuda of 10 by Chris Cox in the 2011 Road to the Horse colt-starting challenge. Together, they turned in a performance that, while maybe not perfect, was certainly stellar. It was enough to earn Cox $10,000 and his third Road to the Horse championship. Perfect Performance and the Four Sixes were awarded AQHA’s Traveler Award, which honors the horse who carried his RTTH contestant to victory.

Road to the Horse culminated Sunday in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The other competitors were Pat Parelli, who purchased his colt, Hey Whiskey; and Clinton Anderson, who rode Fletches Career.  

Here’s what Chris had to say about his win: “I just stayed true to my values and reading my horse and giving him a lot of leadership. You know, the other guys did a great job, as well, but you’ve got to really read these horses and know what they need. They need a lot of support in an environment like this. I’m not here to brag, and I won’t brag about it. We did pretty good, and I’m certainly happy about the outcome.”

As shown in the photo above, Chris supported his horse often throughout their training sessions — quite often rubbing him on his neck or hindquarters.

“He was insecure,” Chris explains. “When they brought him in (Sunday morning), he was shaking all over. And as soon as I connected with him, I got it. I just had to keep that alive.”

Chris says he was honored to work with the Four Sixes’ “traditional, good ranching stock.”

“That meant a lot to me. These horses, they’re just not pushovers. You’ve got to work at ‘em. They’re not going to give you something you don’t deserve.”

Check out the May issue of America’s Horse, exclusively for AQHA members, to learn more about Chris and his experiences at Road to the Horse. And, in the meantime, enjoy our slideshow. Click on the photos to read captions.

[flickr 28429325@N03 72157626164535666]

In the Round Pen

The first day of competition at Road to the Horse brings education and excitement.

The first day of competition at Road to the Horse brings education and excitement.

Clinton Anderson and Fletches Career

So, who’s winning so far? That’s the question on everyone’s minds after the first day of round-pen work at the Road to the Horse colt-starting challenge, which concludes today in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

There’s not a clear answer to that one. All three contestants — Pat Parelli, Chris Cox and Clinton Anderson — have considerable skills, and anything can happen during today’s sessions.

But here’s another frequent question: Who are you rooting for?

Stacy Westfall, an AQHA Professional Horsewoman and America’s Horse columnist who won RTTH in 2006, said she posed that question to a number of audience members and was impressed by the most-common answer. The crowd, it seems, is rooting for the horses.  

America’s Horse talked exclusively to each contestant after Saturday’s competition concluded. Some had more time for us than others. Here’s their comments:

Chris Cox: “It’s a great event. It’s more than just winning, it’s for these excited people who want to see great horsemanship and want to see these great horses. We’re just trying to share as much as we possibly can.”

What Chris hopes people learned from him on Saturday: “That knowledge overcomes a lot of things, and feel and timing and the sensitivity of reading the horse’s mind, it’s more than training, it’s psychology. It’s understanding the thought process of the animal.”

“I feel good about (Saturday’s session.) He’s going to be a nice little horse.”

Why Chris selected his gray colt, Perfect Performance: “He’s a little wild and real sensitive and a little reactive instead of being dull.”

Clinton Anderson: “I was real happy with (the first session). My horse was good. I felt like everything got accomplished, and we’ll see what happens tomorrow. I got a horse (Fletches Career) with a lot of energy, and now I’ve just got to channel it in the right direction.”

What Clinton hopes he taught the crowd: “That you’ve got to use approach and retreat and not pressure a horse too much, and at the same time, you’ve still got to move his feet and get him to respect you.”

Pat Parelli: On why he selected Hey Whiskey as his horse: “He looked amiable. I connected with him right away. I saw him moving around out there when they moved the horses around last night. He wasn’t the boss hoss, and he wasn’t the wimp on the bottom, either. I thought, ‘He’s a nice horse,’ and he’s the kind of horse I’d like to own.

“I really felt like that horse gave me a lot today. Again, I stick with rapport first, then I start working on respect, and then I start working on the impulsion and flexions. I’ve got some work to do now on his respect, so he understands, so he’s not afraid of me, but at the same time, I’m communicating with him, controlling him and can move his body where I need to. That’s my job tomorrow.”

On an unscheduled dismount: “Wasn’t that slick? That was as slick a dismount as a guy knows how to do at my age. I was trying to get dismounted before he got tight. And then when he kind of started to move, I just said, ‘Well let’s just twist out of here and get out of here slick and easy.’ He was hiding from me on his right side on his eye. He’d look at me real good on the left eye, but when I got up and threw that rope over, I realized, he’s not wanting to look at me over here. I’ve got a little work to do on that side.”

“I tried to do two things, to make sure that if that horse’s mom was watching, she’d be proud of what – or not ashamed of what was happening to her little horse, and I was there as if Tom Dorrance, Ronnie Willis and Ray Hunt were watching. They were sitting up in the light banks looking down, and I didn’t want to wear that colt down. I wanted to make sure he was confident, curious, still sensitive.”

Check out our slideshow, and don’t forget to click on the photos to read the captions. Stay tuned to us on Facebook and Twitter to see who wins Road to the Horse this afternoon!

[flickr 28429325@N03 72157626028616155]

Stars of the Show

Learn more about the colts of Road to the Horse.


Learn more about the colts of Road to the Horse.

The Road to the Horse remuda, provided by the Four Sixes Ranch.

On Friday at the Road to the Horse colt-starting challenge, there were great clinics from the legendary contestants, Pat Parelli, Chris Cox and Clinton Anderson. There was great shopping and an incredibly full-to-capacity coliseum. But the buzz was all about the yet-to-be-unveiled stars of the show: the colts themselves, nicely bred American Quarter Horses from the Four Sixes Ranch.

After a “Legends and Stars Extravaganza,” as the crowd was filtering out the doors, the colts came into the arena. They’d been brought in a few times before, before the doors opened to the public, so they could begin acclimating to the environment. It’s a far cry from the big pasture on the Four Sixes Ranch in Guthrie, Texas, that had been their previous stomping ground.

At the AQHA booth, the colts’ pedigrees are displayed on posterboard, and our AQHA reps were peppered with questions about how much handling the colts had had (not much) and if they were for sale (yep). Just a few booth spaces down, the 6666 booth was taking in similar questions.

There, the ranch’s horse division manager Dr. Glenn Blodgett sat down with America’s Horse Daily to talk more about the stars of the show.

“We wanted to bring a nice set of horses that were good, representative samples of everything we’re doing and raising at the ranch,” Dr. Blodgett says. “We tried to bring a variety of sires and a variety of colors. They’re all fairly uniform in size and fairly uniform in conformation.”

He brought 11 horses in case one came off the trailer sick or hurt. (Road to the Horse only requires 10.) Today, the colts will enter the arena for Pat, Chris and Clinton to pick from. Holding to the Road to the Horse tradition, the contestants will then have short round-pen sessions today and tomorrow in which they’ll saddle and ride the colts for the first time. Sunday, they’ll be asked to take the colts through an obstacle course to demonstrate how much trust and education they’ve been able to instill in the horses in such a short time.

So far, these colts — like all of the 200-300 the ranch raises each year — were halter-started while still at their dam’s side. At the end of their halter-training, ranch cowboys then trim the babies’ hooves. During their yearling year, they are caught up another time or two to have their feet trimmed, Dr. Blodgett says. Then, unless they have health issues, they’re untouched until it’s time to start them under saddle. Normally at the 6666, that happens when colts are 2-year-olds. But Road to the Horse prefers to use 3-year-olds, so Dr. Blodgett actually held back about 30 colts from being started last year, giving him a larger pool to choose from.

It’s a group he’s proud of, and he talked about the ranch’s goals in its breeding program:

“Our goal is to produce horses that have good minds and are sensible and responsive,” Dr. Blodgett says. Athletic ability and cow sense are requisites, as is a good, strong conformation.

“We want a good back, a good set of withers We want a good heartgirth, and we like a good sloping shoulder and short cannon bones. We need some muscle behind, some depth back through the stifle. Of course, we want them to be pretty. We want them to look good, too. They’ve got to have good bone, good feet and legs. Hoof quality’s real important with us. We do end up shoeing most of the horses we ride, but you’ve got to have a good foot, one that’ll keep a shoe on.

“We also like a nice-headed horse, with a big eye, because that is a sign of good natural sense in a horse. I can tell you that big, soft eye is important.”

And, finally, the ranch wants a nice-moving horse that’s comfortable to ride.

“Nobody likes to have their teeth jarred out trotting out across the pasture. Boy, a rough-riding horse, at the end of the day, you just feel like you’ve been beat to death. You think you need to go to the chiropractor or the doctor or go get in a hot tub, but an easy-travelling horse makes life a lot better,” Dr. Blodgett says.  

A ranch horse who works for a living, of course, also has to be tough. And occasionally, that necessary toughness and stamina equates to horses who aren’t always easy to start under saddle at first. It’s a fine line the ranch has to walk, raising “a horse that will do what we want him to do, but yet not be so challenging from the word ‘go.’ ” 

So how will these horses react to the strange sights and sounds of the Tennessee Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro, a world away — in more ways than one — from Guthrie, Texas?

“I bet they’ll handle it all right,” Dr. Blodgett says. “Most of the time, horses like this that we deal with, they remember a lot of that stuff that we did to them when they were younger, and they might react a little touchy right at first, but they usually get quiet and settle down. They’ll be pretty responsive after that.”

Here are the pedigrees of the 11 colts who came to Tennessee:

Buck Outfit (sired by Playboys Buck Fever by Freckles Playboy and out of Sixes Outfit by Four Six Hancock)

Sevens Whiskey (sired by Paddys Irish Whiskey by Peppy San Badger and out of Seven S Little Gem by Miss N Command)

Hey Whiskey (sired by Paddys Irish Whiskey and out of Hey Doll Baby by Juno Dat Cash)

Gin For Seven (sired by Seven From Heaven by Playgun and out of Ginnin Woman by Tanquery Gin)

Fat Cat Lad (sired by Sixes Pick by Tanquery Gin and out of Fat Cat Petie by Paseo De Noche)

Badger Fever (sired by Playboys Buck Fever and out of Sable Badger by Tenino Badger)

Sixes Drive Leader (sired by Playin Attraction by Playin Stylish and out of Sixes Playgun by Playgun)

Playboys Style (sired by Playboys Buck Fever and out of Cedar Style by Mr Sun O Lena)

First Buck Fever (sired by Playboys Buck Fever and out of First Cowgirl by Tanquery Gin)

Perfect Performance (sired by Sixes Pick and out of Best Performance by Special Effort)

Fletches Career (sired by Royal Fletch by Jae Bar Fletch and out of Career Model by Eddie Eighty)

Stay tuned to find out which horses are selected by the contestants. Look for more updates on Twitter @americashorse and here on America’s Horse Daily!

Orphans Don’t Have to Be Oddballs, Part 2

More tips on caring for your motherless foal.

More tips on caring for your motherless foal.

By Kimberly French and Becky Newell in America’s Horse

Television is not recommended for foals, even if it is RFD-TV. This is the only time Peppy was in the house.

Missed Part 1? Read about how Kari Frolander of Enterprise, Oregon, began raising her orphan colt, “Peppy.”

Bottle Baby?
An orphaned foal can be fed by a bottle or bucket. A foal will usually nurse willingly from a bottle since its initial instinct is to suckle. Calf nipples are too large, but lamb nipples work. Some baby bottles may also be used. Whichever type you select, make sure the hole in the nipple is not too big. When the bottle is inverted, the contents should not run freely from the nipple, which could cause the foal to inhale the milk into its lungs. Continue reading “Orphans Don’t Have to Be Oddballs, Part 2”

Belly Button Problems

Sometimes a newborn’s belly button doesn’t close.

Sometimes a newborn’s belly button doesn’t close.

By Dr. Justin Harper for American Association of Equine Practitioners, an AQHA alliance partner

Make sure your newborn grows up healthy.

Patent Urachus
The urachus is a tube that connects the bladder to the umbilicus, which normally should close in the newborn foal. However, sometimes this structure remains patent and becomes a problem. Continued dripping of urine or patency of urachal structures out through the umbilicus characterizes patent urachus. Continue reading “Belly Button Problems”

Maintaining Straightness

In a pattern, maintaining your horse’s straightness can be the difference between first and 10th place.

In a pattern, maintaining your horse’s straightness can be the difference between first and 10th place.

By AQHA Professional Horseman Jim Searles with Christine Hamilton in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Straightness can make the difference between 1st or 10th place.

If you go by the dictionary, being straight means free from curves, bends, angles and irregularities. But our show-ring patterns always have circles or half circles and bends of some kind. It’s still important to stay straight, or on line, even in those maneuvers.

Think of it like driving an automobile. When you’re approaching a bend in the road, you curve, but you still stay straight in the middle of the road. If you don’t, you veer off and end up in the woods. Continue reading “Maintaining Straightness”

Color Genetics: Cremello and Bay Cross

Learn about the foal color possibilities when you cross a cremello stallion to a bay mare.

Learn about the foal color possibilities when you cross a cremello stallion to a bay mare.


We have two cremello stallions. We have had two instances in the past year where a bay mare bred to one of these stallions produced palomino offspring instead of buckskin. Can this be explained?

– J. Wade Hill


A bay horse is a black-based animal with the agouti gene, which is the modifier that limits the horse’s black color to its points (legs, mane, tail, eartips). The black-based horse can be either homozygous for the extension allele (two copies black – EE) or heterozygous (one copy black, one copy red – Ee). Because black is dominant, an Ee horse will appear black-based.

Continue reading “Color Genetics: Cremello and Bay Cross”

Proceed Working Trot

Improve your departures with dressage.

Improve your departures with dressage.

By AQHA Professional Horsewoman and Certified Horsemanship Association master instructor Carla Wennberg with Andrea Caudill in America’s Horse

Carla Wennberg on Larks Chaos, or “Red Lark.”


Transitions are how we get from gait to gait, but in dressage, they are not just a means to an end, but a training tool.

When I bought “Red Lark” (registered as Larks Chaos), he was a hunter ridden almost without contact. When I put him into contact almost all the time, he leaned into the bit at first, then tried moving his head behind the vertical to get away from the contact. It took months to convince him to stay steady.

When he gets heavy on the forehand, I don’t want to wrestle with him, I want to use transitions. Transitions say, “Hey buddy, let’s do something else.” Instead of letting him pull on my hands, wrestling with him and making us both mad, I’m going to say, “Ok, let’s try going to a trot!”

Good upward transitions consist of energy from behind, straightness and forward impulsion. Continue reading “Proceed Working Trot”

Live Entertainment at 2011 YES

Are you ready for the Youth Excellence Seminar, June 16-18? If you haven’t registered, now is the time!

Introducing: Casey Berry & the Live Texas Mosquitoes!

We’re ready, and we’re excited to let you know some of the new things happening at the Bank of America Youth Excellence Seminar this year! The annual dance will be held this year on Friday night of YES weekend. We’ll be featuring Casey Berry and the Live Texas Mosquitoes. He’s going to put on a great show for us, so pack your dancing shoes! You can find Casey Berry on Facebook, and he also has his “Vintage” album on iTunes.

About Casey:

Casey Berry and the Live Texas Mosquitoes seem to get a laugh from most people that hear the name for the first time, but to Casey and the guys in the band, their music isn’t all funny. Casey describes his shows as being emotional.

“The songs all come from somewhere, and most of them are based on true stories,” he says. “The music is fun, that’s what it should be.”

Casey has been playing for 10 years; his music closely fits into genres like country, Americana, Texas country and Texas rock and roll.

“It’s definitely country music. There’s a lifestyle that goes along with working with horses and living that life. I rodeoed for years, and you don’t do it because you’re going to get rich. You do it for the camaraderie because you find other people who love what you do,” Casey says.

That’s why he feels that his music can relate to the American Quarter Horse Youth Association members.

Casey’s music career started out being pretty modest. He was teaching guitar in an Amarillo music store when he befriended Jim Whisenhunt (Cooder Graw). Jim told Casey that he needed to be recording the songs he had been writing. Jim agreed to help and brought in the band to play on the album.

Starting to produce music at that level is like starting a business of your own, Casey says. There are many things to overcome to work your way to the top.

Continue reading “Live Entertainment at 2011 YES”